I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
September 19, 2016
Covering 444 miles of ground between Nashville, Tennessee and Natchez, Mississippi, Natchez Trace Parkway is chock full of history, intrigue, wildlife, and sweet, sweet nature. You’ve just got to know where to look for it! Check out these must-see stops along the Trace, from Houston to Natchez Mississippi.
Bynum Mounds (milepost 232.4)
This Native American mound site consists of six mounds that date back to the Middle Woodland Period. You can see two of them here at Bynum Mounds, along with exhibits that show what life was like in the Chickasaw Village that once stood on this land.
Jeff Busby Park (milepost 193.1)
In addition to a campground, picnic tables and restrooms, you’ll find a well-maintained half-mile trail leading up to the top of Little Mountain, one of the highest points in Mississippi. Signs along the trail identify native plants and tell you how the pioneers used them. All in all, it’s a pleasant place to stretch your legs.
DETOUR: Kosciusko, Mississippi (milepost 160)
This charming little town is the birthplace of Oprah Winfrey and a great place to spend the night while on the Trace. Stop first at the Visitor’s Center at milepost 160, where you can learn about the town’s history and the Revolutionary War-era Polish freedom fighter it was named for. Continue on into the town and you’ll find a picturesque downtown square, restaurants and the well-reviewed Maple Terrace Inn, a historic bed and breakfast filled with antiques and atmosphere. Learn more about all Kosciusko has to offer here.
Not only will you have a beautiful view of the reservoir if you stop here, cyclists will be rewarded with a 10.5 mile-long scenic biking/jogging trail that winds through forest, crosses water, and gives you several opportunities to stop for a meal. Cyclists say the trail is hilly but well-maintained and fun to ride.
Rocky Springs (milepost 54.8)
Take the self-guided half-mile trail here to see what’s left of a once bustling 1800s town. Rocky Springs was settled in the late 1790s. By 1860, more than 2,600 people lived here, including 4 physicians, 4 teachers, 3 clergy, and 13 artisans. Cotton was grown on the outskirts of the town, where 54 planters and more than 2,000 slaves lived. The civil war, Yellow Fever, and poor land management contributed to the decline of Rocky Springs. Today, a cemetery and church remain (I’ve read services are still held here once a month) as well as other signs of civilization.
Sunken Trace (milepost 41.5)
This walking section of the Old Trace is easy to find– Time, erosion, and thousands of footsteps on the path over hundreds of years has ‘sunken’ the loess soil of the pathway! This is a popular spot to take a few minutes to walk the old road and think about what life must have been like for those who walked this same path 200 years ago. It’s also one of the most photographed places on the parkway.
Windsor Ruins (milepost 30)
Travelers rave about the Windsor Ruins, the remains of a once-lavish mansion that cost $4.5 million to build back in 1860. The home survived the Civil War, but was destroyed by a fire sparked by a guest’s cigar. Today, only the stately columns remain, providing ample Instagram opportunities. To see the ruins for yourself, exit the Trace at milepost 30 and follow the signs to the Windsor Ruins.
You’ve reached The Southern Terminus — the end (or beginning) of Natchez Trace Parkway. Lucky for you, you’ve landed in one of the coolest historic towns in the country. See a shortlist of what to do, where to stay and what to eat while you’re there over at Style Blueprint!
And that’s it! The best of the Natchez Trace Parkway, from start to finish! If you make the trip, be sure and let me know your favorite stops in the comments!
Header image via ScenicTrace.com. Head over there for even more information about the Natchez Trace Parkway!